United States and New Zealand sign agreement to expand defense cooperation; U.S. Army looking to preposition stocks of equipment close to potential global flashpoints
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  • Reports noted that the United States and New Zealand have signed an agreement to expand defense cooperation on June 19, 2012 but the deal does not alter Auckland’s longstanding ban on port visits by nuclear-armed American warships, officials said. The accord was the latest in a series marking U.S. attempts to shift its strategic focus to the Asia-Pacific. New Zealand’s Defense Minister Jonathan Coleman said the accord called for a security dialogue as well as joint exercises and other collaborative efforts between the two countries’ armed forces. “This high-level arrangement recognizes the significant security cooperation that exists between New Zealand and the U.S. within the context of our independent foreign policy, and seeks to build upon that cooperation in the years ahead,” Coleman said in a statement. The Pentagon said the partnership “will include security cooperation in areas such as maritime security cooperation, humanitarian assistance and disaster relief, and peacekeeping support operations.” The June 19 deal illustrated a thawing of once chilly military relations between the two countries. 1

    In another development, according to reports, the U.S. Army is looking to preposition stocks of equipment to keep them close to potential global flashpoints and assist with multilateral training missions with partner nations. One of the places critical to this new program is Australia, the U.S. Army Chief of Staff Gen. Ray Odierno said on June 20, 2012 during an appearance at the Council on Foreign Relations in Washington. “We’re working with the Australians where we can do multilateral training,” he said, adding that “one of the concepts we’re looking at, [is] putting prepositioned equipment there ... then bring countries from around the region in to conduct multilateral efforts.” While not naming specific nations, Odierno said the Army is looking to do the same thing in Africa, adding that the train and advise mission is “going to be more and more important as we go forward” in a post-Iraq and Afghanistan era. Army officials have already said that early plans call for about 11,000 MRAPs to be prepositioned around the globe. Africa is becoming increasingly important to the Army’s plans due in no small part to the fact that “terrorist elements around the world go to the areas they think has the least resistance,” the chief noted. 2